Lost within the United States is the use of gas scooters as a means of transportation and for good reason. People who drive scooters in China are generally crazy. If you’ve got a scooter you’re now invincible, you can drive in regular traffic and challenge huge trucks, drive in the lane designated for scooters(but probably not), or drive on sidewalks. Another fun fact that adds to the crazy is that under a certain engine power, a driver’s license is not required. Just last week I did a double take when I saw a girl, around twelve years old driving a scooter. Crazy is not confined to just scooters; it is found in cars as well.
Before you can drive a car, it’s time to pass a driver’s test. To pass the test here in English you must score a 90% on an exam most certainly not designed by anyone that has a solid grasp of the English language. I watched my friend try and study for the test and fail three times before passing. At First it’s comedic, the questions are so absurd, so you study and you laugh.
If a driver has driven a motorized vehicle for more than four hours running, he should stop the vehicle and rest for at leasta) 5 minutesb) 10 minutesc) 20 minutesd) 40 minutes
Then you take the test and the bizarre questions you laughed at are now staring back at you. As expected, you fail. Now it’s back to the book to study some more before hoping that logical questions get thrown at you the second time around. But again this is not the case. This cycle repeats itself until you’ve managed to memorize enough to pass.
Congratulations, you’ve passed your driver’s test. Now it’s on to the open roads where you may end up with whiplash, broken bones, and a severe case of road rage. Overly aggressive driving is the norm when it comes to driving around here. I remember back in the United States maybe once in a year I’d possibly ending up in an accident when something goes wrong. In China, it’s about once every time you step into a car. The sad thing is, the way the style of driving has evolved, being non aggressive means you’re not getting anywhere on time.
Another great aspect of driving and living here, which is most certainly my favorite, is the horns. If I ranked the single most important thing that you should know to communicate the most ideas in China, even more popular than things like hello and thank you, is the horn. Everyone uses the horn and they use it all the time. It’s also very contagious, when one person honks their horn, most likely, at least another five to ten people will press their horn as well. Outside of heavy traffic, horns are used to let people know they’re coming. This would be fine and dandy if it wasn’t coming from a scooter flying down the sidewalk at thirty miles per hour passing by you with a ten inch gap.
The surprising thing is, that ten inch gap will never get any smaller, no horn will lead to a ten car pile up, and no scooter will challenge a truck and lose. I’ve been here four months and have not witnessed a single accident. Of the friends I have talked to about the traffic here, I have only heard of one accident and even that one wasn’t so bad. Maybe the drivers of China are not so crazy after all.